The second edition of the Winter Youth Olympic Games officially began with an innovative yet nostalgic Opening Ceremony in sub-zero freezing temperatures which was not afraid to stray from the traditional here tonight.
The spectacle, entitled “The boy who wanted the world”, was held at the same venue as the Opening Ceremony of the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympic Games 22 years to the day, where Crown Prince Haakon lit the Cauldron.
That particular honour this time around fell to his daughter Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway, who was handed the Torch by six-time Norwegian Olympic skiing champion Marit Bjørgen as she carried it into the venue in dramatic fashion.
The sold-out Ceremony, attended by around 13,000 spectators, including the Norwegian Royal Family, began with a segment entitled “creation”, which sets the scene for the rest of the show by starting to tell the story of a young boy “born with skis on his feet”.
Following the opening, the formal part of the Ceremony took place, with the national anthem of Norway and the raising of the Norwegian flag.
The 1,100 athletes due to compete here then made their entrance ahead of the parade of flags, with the loudest cheer reserved for the host nation.
The main part of the ceremony detailed the journey of a young athlete whose competitive spirit was saved by the Olympic Flame
International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, was joined on stage by young athlete representatives from the five different continents, who each spoke to the audience expressing why they love the Youth Olympic Games.
“This is what the Youth Olympic Games are all about: bringing young athletes together from all around the world to enjoy competition and friendship,” Bach said.
“We are coming together to celebrate the Olympic Values of excellence, friendship and respect.”
Once Bach had departed, the Olympic oaths were taken in a slightly different way to the usual format at Opening Ceremonies as each participant faced the crowd while placing one hand on the Olympic flag.
A stirring rendition of the Olympic Anthem then filled the arena before the main show came to the fore, detailing the journey of a young athlete, played by 16-year-old Eilif Hellum Noraker, a famous young actor in the Scandinavian country who appeared in the popular Doktor Proktor films.
Noraker's character was accompanied by a host of professionals who slalomed down the famous ski jumping run before arriving in the arena.
During his time on stage, he goes through the emotions of trying to become a professional athlete and ultimately gives up before his spark is reunited by the entrance of the Olympic Flame, carried by Bjørgen.